Over gentle acoustics and a piped flute my favourite Lancashire based 80’s obsessed metal revivalists Massive Wagons make a bid for their own Ryme Of The Ancient Mariner. Accompanied by a rather brilliant etching based video this is a masterpeice of the (heavy metal songs about whales) genre.
It’s a shanty in all but the sonics. We’re back on Moby Dick and we’re thrashing out some heavy trad metal vibes while were at it. Taken from their pre-breakthrough album Welcome To The World this band are one of planet rock’s best kept secrets. That album opens with the full on metal attack Nails. It’s title track is a hit single in every way but actual sales. At the same time huge moments like Ratio and Tokyo were so good they were dusted off and represented on their next album Full Nelson so as not to go to waste. So it is that The Day We Fell slipped beneath the surface. Too early in their output to go full blown well known. Too good to waste. This post is a public service announcement. You don’t want to miss out this.
“Hoist the mainsail you devils, Cast Off! Cast off into the open sea, pray the Lord sails with us, pray the wind stay behind us”
When I was a kid my family only ever holidayed in the UK. We spent many a rain soaked week day huddled into lifeboat museums, maritime memorials or walking around port towns with tales of those lost at sea written on the walls of their oldest buildings. We went to lighthouses, coves, marinas and jetties. It all got a bit samey.
As a young adult I swore blind if I never looked at another cork life-jacket again it would be too soon. Now as I’m slowing up, when I go to Cornwall or Whitby or Felixstowe I find myself stopping by these things with a renewed interest. When your county is an island you’re surrounded by Maritime history. It’d be a shame not to enjoy it with your IPA (developed with heavy hops to survive the sea freight to the colonies) and some battered scampi.
“I’m looking for a few good men, If your stomach is strong and your wits are clean, I’m hunting for the big white devil”
This tune is massive. This band criminally underrated. Over full on Priest meets Maiden style riffage Bazza gets to read a passage of Melville as if he’s doing the Coleridge part of Powerslave’s most epic track on the quick. This is no slight half hearted version. Ver Wagons are a young band with no time to faff about. They can do it all in record time.
“He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”
To add a couple of bonus features Bazza then slips in a short literary review at the end of the track. Miss Long would be proud. Another student turning their homework late and in the wrong medium. Then with their japes restored they slip a final acoustic half bar of a real sea shanty in at the very end.